So, you’ve read the thread I started over on RPG.net, and you’ve gone through the three horrendous characters I rolled up this week (Rikki, Headless Fred and Last Chance Jones), and you are wondering what the fuck is going on here.
(Or you may be wondering if you already read this post – I accidentally scheduled it for Saturday instead of Sunday and it was up for two hours before I noticed the mistake)
Yes, deadEarth is possibly one of the worst RPGs ever. But don’t take my word for it. You should try it out yourself and see what I’m talking about.
“But Dyson” I hear the cries, “the game is long out of print and even the website is gone now, how will I try out the most realistic and flexible post-apocalyptic RPG of all time for myself?”
Before shutting down deadEarth, the publisher made the magnanimous gesture of making the game free and freely republishable on a non-commercial basis. So you can head on over to my Scribd page, and download the PHB, GMs Guide, and a bunch of supplements.
“But Dyson” the cries begin again, “you have regaled us with tales of the horror of this game, why would I want to actually check it out?”
Here’s my top 5 reasons to check out deadEarth – now!
Character Creation is it’s own Mini-Game
Sure this has been done before in games like Traveller, and even classic Gamma World, but like the original Traveller, you have no guarantee that your character will survive this mini-game. Unlike many random character creation systems, this is a mini-game where the object isn’t to “win” by coming out with the best character. The object of this mini-game is to survive and come out with any character at all! Even better? You can lose at this mini-game. You are only allowed three attempts to make a character, and if they all suck, you have to live with it. And if they are all dead? Hope you like role-playing the maggots eating your brains.
The Most Flexible Game Ever!
According to the blurb on the back cover of the book – this is the only role-playing game where you have unlimited flexibility in characters, equipment and setting depending only on the imagination of the players. Seriously! Other games require you to buy new books for every character you want to play, every piece of equipment you find or buy, and every setting you explore. You cannot use your imaginations in those games, you have to buy the books. deadEarth is unique!
Realism! Research! Brutality!
The game setting and mechanics are advertised as being as brutaly real as possible, involving hundreds of hours of scientific research to make the game completely plausible and real. That’s right – scientific research has shown that attacking someone’s heart or neck with a great big battleaxe is just as easy/ difficult as attacking their torso! Further research has shown that exposure to radiation leads to spontaneous sex changes, exploding heads, and the ability to eat people’s souls!
The incredible simplicity of the game is amazing. You plot out your entire round’s actions in advance using a huge table of how many “moves” each action takes, and then as you suffer damage or stun, you lose moves in the middle of the round changing your actions. There are only 17 hit locations to track, each with it’s own hit point tally, and a piecemeal armour system that has you armour each of these 17 hit locations seperately. Instead of tracking XP at the end of a game session and potentially “levelling up” you gain 1 skill point every time you make a skill roll, and can spend these points on the fly to increase skills or power abilities.
Mutations, Mutations, Mutations!
But when it all comes down to it, you need deadEarth because of the Radiation Manipulations tables. You thought there were lots of mutations in Mutant Future or Gamma World, didn’t you? Fool. There are over 1,200 official radiation manipulations in deadEarth, plus another 200 available from a fan supplement. Why limit yourself with those paltry tables in your current post-apocalyptic RPG when you could have amazing results like:
- Incompetent – double the skill point costs to advance a skill
- Verve Paladin – you have the ability to fight Moloch for the right to harvest the dead. If you defeat Moloch, the person he was harvesting is saved from death.
- Bloom – you and everyone within 20 feet of you have cross-mutated with a plant and gain one ability from a nearby plant type.
- Diarrhea – roll 1d6 every morning. On a 6 you must stop to crap d6 times that day. On a 1 you have already crapped yourself this morning – time to change your shorts.
- Pink Slip – trade character sheets with the next player you come in contact with.
Even better? That’s just 5 of over 1,400 mutations (sorry – Radiation Manipulations) in the game!
In case you needed a sixth reason, the deadEarth discussion spawned this “fan” remix of the front page of the rulebook by bottg with a quote from Frohawken on rpg.net:
So why aren’t you playing deadEarth yet?